By Dr. Assan Jallow.
In light of the decision taken by the DC judge against former president Yahya Jammeh, let us not celebrate it. It is a slap against proper jurisprudence that Jammeh’s house in Potomac has been forfeited, indicating that justice was not served on its intended purpose, as the seizure at first was illegal and outside the proceedings of legal merits. The forfeiture of the villa on the other hand is a ‘fait accompli’ and a broad daylight robbery meted on the person of Jammeh and the Gambia as the presented arguments of the judge is weak and condescending. This is an indicator that justice in America is always questionable and that stealing is a common endeavor among the legal elite. which indicates the hangers of injustice and stealing in American jurisprudence is ever-present. Jammeh and Gambia were also victimized by the forfeiture of the villa as the judge’s arguments are condescending and weak.
According to international law, such forfeitures should not be handed over to the Justice Department, but rather must be returned immediately to the home country of the person whose property has been seized and forfeited. As such, this is how proper justice is executed under the acts of international law and justice.
If the US government believed that the house was gotten through illegal means then the government of the Gambia should have been a party to the case and Jammeh served to appear as a defendant or be legally represented by a lawyer, and if the court found out beyond reasonable doubt that the said property was acquired through ill-gotten money, then the decision of the judge for forfeiture should be transferred to the government of the Gambia and not to the US government. This was a unilateral decision made through lore and not according to the law. In the event he – Jammeh is found guilty of a crime beyond reasonable doubt by a court of competent jurisdiction based on circumstantial evidence, whatever is discovered should be returned to the original jurisdiction where the crime or looting occurred, not what has been obtained here from the judgment. This is not restitution; on the contrary, it is a forceful forfeiture by the preacher of justice. Unless, if I reading the script of on the rules of international law differently. Is this not just a case argued on the altar of legal convenience without merit and taken advantage of against the resource-constrained Gambia? This is an injustice of the highest order that exposes western manipulation and extortion with the notion of policing the world while making us weaker, poorer, and subjected to their whims and caprices.
Every sane and legally aware person knows that the United States has jurisdiction over the property of Jammeh in question. The basis for my submission is that substantive laws have been eroded and overshadowed without placing the burden of proof on Jammeh to determine whether the mansion was obtained illegally or through looting from the Gambian Treasury. That has not been proven, as it should have been determined at the time of purchase of the said property when Jammeh was in power and not when he leaves office. This shows the hypocrisy and double standard of the preacher of justice and law. The United States does not play the role of a conscientious objector as what it does best is by playing to the gallery with Heads of States and politicians by according them all the protections they need in the form of citizenship investment schemes and by serving as safe havens for their looted funds through assets buying. That is the sad reality as the preacher of justice, democracy, human rights, and good governance in its sham actions and acting as the world’s police is always missing in action when cases of such grave nature happen is silence and in an indifferent mode.
What is more striking is the way the proceedings of the case was handled as it was preempted on the altar of convenience with the absence of not involving the person’s home country’s government in the process as there was a strong indication that the government of the Gambia was not served a notice of appearance before such court to listen to the arguments and presented evidence. This to me is a miscarriage of justice as the law provides the burden of proof as to the legal yardstick in such high profile case. I am not holding brief for Jammeh but sharing disappointments regarding the issue of dishonorable discharge of jurisprudence.
Based on the aforementioned points, the property should not be forfeited to the US government. It is wrong and inconceivable. It is a sham proceeding wrapped with the hangers’ deliberate miscarriage of justice in America’s jurisprudence. The property should be handed over to the government of The Gambia, effective immediately if the decision stays conclusively as the evidence suggests that they found the monies used for the purchase of the property to have been looted from the treasury of The Gambia. And, if the case in question is not countered by Jammeh’s legal team for stay out of execution in their submission of not been properly served to exhaust any possible legal means in the courts.
Poor we are as what manifests in us as Gambians is the ignorant carrying the burden of hate and grudges, to the extent of celebrating one when of us is slapped with a bad fortune either by nature or through the courts. We are all victims and self-inflicted one way or the other, and each of us can take sides, but let us not exchange our conscience for self-serving desires as today is HIM and tomorrow it could be any of us. Let us fight the miscarriage of justice by calling it out and allow justice to take its proper cause and pedestal based on law.
God Save The Gambia.